Bike-sharing makes a lot of sense for dense, bike-friendly cities like Montreal, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. But what about those urban monsters of sprawl, like Toronto and many other American cities? In these places, bike-sharing may not be physically and logistically possible beyond a restricted area in these spread-out urban agglomerations, but what if there was an electric kit that you could add on to a shared bike to help you cover up to twenty miles without pedaling?
That's the idea behind ShareRoller, a portable electric motor that turns any bike into an electric bike. Though it can be mounted onto any bike with an adapter, it's been designed with those heavy share bikes in mind, and here's how the electrical engineer and designer Jeff Guida describes it on ShareRoller's Kickstarter pre-launch:
ShareRoller weighs only 6-7lbs and is about the size of a 500-sheet pack of paper (8"x11"x2.5"). It can be carried easily on its own, or in a laptop bag, briefcase, or handbag. And it can be installed or removed on a share bike in less than 10 seconds.Once installed, ShareRoller's 750 Watts of power will propel you effortlessly at up to 18mph without pedaling (and faster if you pedal!) for 12 to 20 miles of range, depending on battery size. This is no puny 250 Watt 'assist' like many others on the market; ShareRoller packs a full 1.0 horsepower - as much power as a Tour de France cyclist in a sprint!
This kind of unit would be of huge assistance in covering large distances in car-centric, sprawling cities, making biking an even more attractive and affordable option than ever. ShareRoller can work for scooters too and has a variable throttle button for various levels of assist, a USB port so that it can recharge your smart devices easily. Best of all, it has two extra 20-lumen headlights built-in, so nighttime cycling is made safer.
Some further details on how the technology behind ShareRoller works:
ShareRoller uses friction drive to power the front wheel of your share bike and attaches to the bike in a most ingenious manner (so much so that we've filed patents on it!). The secret is that ShareRoller slides on and mounts to the triangular mounting bracket above the front wheel of the bike. Simultaneously, the motor assembly swings out of the case and locks into position to securely and efficiently drive the front wheel (also Patent Pending!).
ShareRoller has currently beyond the early prototype stage and into "fully-developed, late-stage pre-production" stage -- they have suppliers lined up and are looking for funding to bring the project to full production this summer. Hopefully projects like this will help "Copenhagenize" major North American cities into places where car-free "bike superhighways" are a real possibility. Keep updated and give the project a boost by giving some feedback on the ShareRoller Kickstarter page.